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Monday, May 7, 2001
Contact: Peter Bailley

Poetry, Music Explore "the Dark Crossing"

According to an article by Robert Hellenga, Robin Metz's colleague in the Knox College English Department, literature serves two purposes — "articulation" and letting us "see through other eyes." That experience is extended to hearing, through Metz's collaboration with composer and pianist Bruce Polay, "Threnodies for the Dark Crossing."

Photos (from top): Robin Metz, Bruce Polay, Metz and Polay, at the Galesburg Civic Art Center performance.

Robin Metz

Metz and Polay gave their combined reading and recital on May 5 in the Galesburg Civic Art Center. Metz, Philip Sidney Post Professor of English at Knox, read selections from "Unbidden Angel," his award-winning collection of poetry. Polay, professor of music at Knox and conductor of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony, performed a series of piano solos entitled "Grasping for Silence."

Metz wrote "Unbidden Angel" after the death of his wife Elizabeth Jahnke Metz, in 1993. "Every love story is finally a story about grief," he told the audience at the performance. "That's a fact of our existence that affirms the value of our love."

Polay's composition is a four-movement suite for solo piano inspired by Metz's poems. "The overall context is a contemplation of the many moods and feelings associated with Robin's delicately insightful, often troubling poems," Polay said.

Bruce Polay

Audio — Download poetry excerpt (21 sec, 252K, from "Convalescence," text below) / music excerpt (50 sec, 500K)

"Isn't that but one of life's great treasures,
Never knowing when the end is till the end is over.
'Live with it,' I sob at dawn and in the violet hours.
'Live with it!' I shriek.

Metz and Polay have performed "Threnodies for the Dark Crossing" for the Knox College alumni club in New York and twice in the San Francisco area. Metz has given readings from the book throughout the United States and Europe.

Bruce Polay, Robin Metz

"Unbidden Angel," which won the Rainer Maria Rilke Prize for Poetry, is published by Cross-Cultural Publications in its American Poets Series. It is available from the Knox College Bookstore by contacting Craig Conolly at cconolly@knox.edu. Autographed copies, including a special collectors' edition, are also available.

Polay, an award-winning conductor and composer, has taught at Knox since 1983. Metz, whose poetry and fiction have received numerous awards, directs the Writing Program and has taught at Knox since 1967.

The performance was co-sponsored by Knox College, the Knox-Galesburg Symphony and the Galesburg Civic Art Center.

More about:
Robin Metz and more selections from "Unbidden Angel"
Bruce Polay
Additional performance arrangements - contact Robin Metz at 309-343-6746

Founded in 1837, Knox is an independent, four-year, liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with 1,220 students from 47 states and 41 nations. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.


Metz Polay Performance May 5 2001
Knox News Contact